Welcome to "What" MountainThe opposite of why is now.” – Seth Godin

There is a certain point in any creative endeavor when it is no longer time to ponder, and it is instead time to act. To make. To realize. And perhaps to fail. Fear seems to be an obvious but elusive partner in this part of the journey. Fear can walk ahead of us and get all the glory.

Leaving us…

Ever pondering, ever restless, ever more, more, more.

Never satisfied, never proud, but never bored. 

In class 7 at SVA POD we had a talk about confronting reality. We talked about what it is like to be in this moment, and have the mountain of work they each have in front of them. During class they each made a visualization of the “things they did not yet know” that is meant to serve as a guide to their own personal mountain of work ahead.

Through listening to their confrontation of reality through this exercise, I learned that reality comes in many commonly confronted flavors, some more pronounced than others in a given context.

The flavors of reality I have identified thus far are:

  • Time: I only have X time left
  • Money: I only have X dollars for this
  • Resources: I only have X (people, props, venue)
  • Skill-set: I know how to ________ but I don’t know how to _____________, yet.
  • Environment: I am working within a market, serving an audience, within an ecosystem, via a platform, using technology.
  • Personalities: I want my work to say ________ about me
  • Politics: Others want my work to say _______ about ________
  • Ethics: I want my work to do right by the world
  • Integrity: I want to be proud of my work

I was quite worried in giving my thesis students this assignment that I was setting them up for a very uncomfortable spring break staring at their mountain of work rather than starting to climb it, but I had a hunch they needed this moment before they left. Because I have a hypothesis in my own work that confrontation of reality is an important turning point for all creative endeavors and can be one of the most powerful places that information architecture thinking can be applied.

I left class believing strongly that many of them spent that time making a map that will help them to start the trek up that mountain. Some are even already excited for the view once on top.

Thanks for reading.